Monday, September 29, 2014
Sundry Monday - Figures Toy Company's Batman Classic TV 8 Inch Retro Superheroes
Figures Toy Company has been making retro, Mego style, 8 inch cloth outfit action figures for quite a few years now. Originally, the company had a fairly bad reputation among toy collectors, because their figures were very cheaply made and tended to break easily. But they have improved quite a bit over the years, and their current crop of figures are just about as good as those from any company making figures in this style. Their line of Batman Classic TV figures are probably their best ones yet. Let's check them out after the break...
The first series of Batman Classic TV toys from FTC consists of four figures: Batman, Robin, The Riddler, and The Joker. They come packaged in collector-friendly clamshell packages that can be opened and closed, so the figures can be removed from the packages and played with, but then placed back in the packages to store or display them. Each backer card in the clamshells is color-coded for a specific character and features stills from the TV show for that particular character.
Inside the clamshells, we find some really great looking figures. Both the sculpts and the costumes are top-notch. I think these are just about the best looking Mego style figures ever. These might not be hyper-realistic Hot Toys type figures, but for 8 inch Mego-like figures, these can't be beat for appearance. There are a few minor issues that keep the costumes from being perfect, though. For one, Batman's shorts ride a little low, so that there is a gap between the top of the shorts and the bottom of the belt. I removed the belt, and fiddled with his outfit a bit and was able to minimize this, but it would have been nice if they had just made those things rise up a little higher naturally. The second problem was that they gave the riddler black dress shoes for some reason. On the show he wore what looked like green slippers that matched his tights, so I'm not sure what they were thinking when they gave him those black shoes. There is also an issue with the velcro they used to hold the costume pieces together showing at the seams (this is most noticeable on Joker's jacket). Finally, Batman and Robin have gloved hands that are much, much better looking than the old style Mego "oven mitts," but on both of my figures the gloves occasionally fall off... although they can be easily be popped back into place.
Despite those relatively minor complaints, I really love the outfits. They look just like the costumes from the TV show, and are much more detailed than the usual Mego type cloth outfits. The head sculpts on thse figures are even better... heck, I think they're pretty much perfect.
The bodies that FTC are using are of a much higher quality than the bodies they were using on their figures a few years ago, made from sturdy plastic, with no broken joints or anything like that. They are still Mego-style bodies with rubber bands inside them, though, and they have issues with posing and standing just like this style of bodies made by any company have. None of the figures really hold a pose very well, as their limbs tend to pull back to their default positions after you move them. That's fine when you're actively playing with the figures, but not so great if you want to display them in dynamic poses. Both my villain figures, the Joker, and especially the Riddler, have legs that consistently point inward no matter how you pose them. You can see that in my photos, including when they are still in the package. I believe that is caused by the elastic bands inside being strung to tightly, which is a common problem with Mego type figures. I really wish FTC and the other toy companies that make retro figures like this would stop using rubber bands and switch to bodies with more modern articulation. In fact, some companies, like Zica, Castaway, and EMCE toys are doing that now... and I would love to see FTC follow suit. As it stands, I think I might switch the bodies out with some new "Type S" bodies from Zica/Castaway toys. If I do, I'll do a follow-up post to show how that turns out.
Overall, I think these are really great Mego-style figures. I'm also really excited about FTC's plans for this line, as they are going way deeper into the character selection than Mattel is with their comparable line of Batman '66 figures. Mattel is only making figures of Batman, Robin, Riddler, Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, and Batgirl. FTC is planning all of those characters, as well as even more like Egghead, Mr. Freeze, The Mad Hatter, Shame, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and who knows who else. They are also releasing a bunch of great accessories for the figures, like batarangs, the hotline phone, and other props from the show. I really love everything they've shown us so far, and i hope this line goes on and on for years. It easily looks like it will become my favorite 8 inch Mego-style line of figures ever... even over the original classic Mego figures like the World's Greatest Superheroes, Star Trek, and Planet of the Apes. FTC has also recently announced an upcoming line of Super Friends figures based on the classic Saturday Morning Cartoon, and judging by their Classic Batman figures, I'm expecting those to be really great. I can't wait to see what these guys come up with next.